06 October 2009

Wizard of Oz Back on Bestseller List

This time it’s the graphic novel adaptation by Eric Shanower and Skottie Young.

The original novel appeared before modern book bestseller lists, but it was clearly the children’s-book hit of 1900. The musical extravaganza adapted from it for Broadway in 1903 was the boffo stage show of that time. The 1939 movie, often said to have been a money-loser, was the second biggest grosser of that year, (way) behind only Gone With the Wind.

More recently, in the last few years the second edition of Michael Patrick Hearn’s Annotated Wizard of Oz and Robert Sabuda’s pop-up adaptation both made the New York Times Book Review lists. And now the Marvel comics adaptation is on the graphic-novel bestseller list, most recently #3.

I’ll quote from the perceptive review (i.e., I agree with its points) from The Graphic Classroom:

Shanower took care in this adaptation by giving us details that have – for most people anyway – been lost because of the celluloid translation. In fact, so many details were left out of the movie that many parts of this book give the reader new insight – new teeth – with which to chomp into this new-old story. From the green goggles worn in the Emerald City to Dorothy’s magic kiss, to the fact that Oz sees each of the four individually (and always in a different form), or the fact that the flying monkeys only did the Wicked Witch’s bidding because they were forced to, it is to the reader’s delight that the old story is fresh.
And another from Sequential Tart, which looks at comics from female fans’ perspectives:
Best of all, Dorothy maintains her status as an ‘every’ girl, brave and kind, to whom all children can relate. It is Young’s portrayal of her that brings the visual realism to the story. If we can believe in Dorothy, then we can believe in Oz, the Munchkins, and a talking Lion!
And of course we can believe in Dorothy Gale.

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